The Hits Keep on Coming: Supernatural S3-5
I have never seen another show successfully arc like this one. I'm a huge fan of arcing shows...Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica (the new one), Lost (for a while), Alias, Farscape, How I Met Your Mother...the list goes on. As a writer, I really dig the character and story development that comes from something that builds the story and characters, rather than "the song remains the same" treatment most shows get.
This shows blows away all the other shows that came before it. The writers here know how to keep escalating and building, when to let off steam, when to mix humor in, and have a knack for wickedly twisted call-outs to mythology, both real-world and the show's own. They make the simple tale of two monster hunters morph into a raging battle between angels and demons, and ground it in reality like the best myths out there. They toss in an apocalypse for good measure, and they make it work on every level.
And the casting director knows where to find people. The number of guest spots is impressive, but the "no-names" showing up week to week are chocked full of people that make you go "I wanna see this guy/girl in other things!"
And one of these was a little known actor named Misha Collins who becomes a regular cast member, and has now become one of my favorite cult actors. This guy has a wonderful sense of straight man humor, knowing how to deliver a scowl and a funny line every bit as well as Jensen Ackles can switch between bad-ass and hilarious in half a heartbeat. Apparently he's all the rage on Twitter as well. (Look up MishaCollins.) He's one of those actors who has an odd life outside of acting, such as being a carpenter who built his house and all the furniture inside it, studied Social Theory in college and spent time in a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal. I love quirky, so of course I like this guy.
The final ep of S5 neatly ties up a 5 year arc, and word has it that the next season will be a whole new direction...so let's hope they pull it off with the same grace they've used on the rest of the show. Sera Gamble is replacing show runner Eric Kripke (he'll still be around, just not running it). Gamble is an excellent writer who has been with the show for ages...it's in great hands. And the excellent Ben Edlund will be back, and is happy he'll be able to write comedy again. (Edlund, who got famous from The Tick, has also written some of the creepier eps from the last season of Supernatural, after writing some of the funnier ones from earlier seasons. Edlund also did the wacky but creepy "Smile Time" puppet episode of Angel.)